The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now working to award recovery funds to Iowa under the federal disaster declaration brought on by the winter storms at the start of this month. Dan Best, the federal co-ordinating officer for FEMA, says the federal grants will be limited to local and state governments, and certain non-profit organizations.
Best says the individual assistance program is based on widespread severe damage to individual homes and business. Best says the ice and snow storms that hit Iowa did some minor damage to individual homes, such as pulling electric wires down, or trees breaking windows, but there wasn’t the widespread damage required to give awards to individual homeowners. Best says there are several administrative steps to go through to reimburse governments for their damage.
Best says they first have a kickoff meeting and talk about the damage and how they’ll document the damage and if they need more records or an assessment of the damage. Best says this process gives them a more concrete damage figure. He says the preliminary damage assessment was 37-million dollars. Best says the preliminary assessment is often done quite fast, so the amount of damage could increase. He says the grants pay the actual cost to complete the work. Best says the non-profit electric companies will see the bulk of the federal recover money.
Best says 91-percent of the preliminary damage estimate was for downed electric lines and power poles and repairing them. Best says the other big category was for debris removal, cleaning up downed trees and opening roadways. Best says FEMA will set a grant amount for each government or non-profit business and then adjust that amount as the work is completed and the actual cost of the work is determined. Best says the whole process can take between 30 and 90 days to complete.